The board of trustees for the Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) and Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk 1) will formally recommend to the GNWT that school trustee elections be synchronized with municipal elections.

Both districts passed the motions this week, with YCS passing its motion on Wednesday and Yk 1 doing the same on Tuesday.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) has not yet received the formal recommendation from the districts, said ECE spokesperson Meagan Wohlberg, on Friday.

“Conducting elections in the most cost effective manner while maximizing voter participation are priorities for everyone involved,” Wohlberg said.

Enabling the synchronization will require an amendment to the territory’s Education Act. It would be up to the Legislative Assembly to carry out the amendment, Wohlberg added.

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 and Yellowknife Catholic Schools are calling on the Department of Education, Culture and Employment to amend the Education Act so that election cycles of the school districts and municipality can be synchronized. NNSL file photo

The motions follow two years of lobbying the GNWT by YCS and Yk 1 in an effort to harmonize the election cycles, the districts said in a news release.

The cycles had been held simultaneously until the municipal election in October of 2018, when a bylaw was approved to increase city councillor terms from three years to four years.

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The harmonized cycle allowed YCS and Yk 1 to save tens of thousands of dollars on election enumeration, promotion and coordination expenses, the school districts said.

On July 16, the districts agreed to hold trustee elections in the fall of 2021 for one-year terms. That would pave the way for election synchronization with the City of Yellowknife when it holds its next poll in the fall of 2022.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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